Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
-Joshua 1:9 NIV
When Joshua succeeded Moses to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, God spoke these words of direction and encouragement. These same words are promised to us, but we have a hard time believing and trusting because we rely on ourselves and see visible circumstances that cloud our faith in God.
Knowing God intimately overrides and dispels unbelief and fear. When we earnestly seek His face, feel His presence, hear His voice, and receive His inspiration, we can move forward with conviction, strength, and courage.
A casual, part-time relationship with God will lead to fear and persistent struggles. Thankfully, we have a loving and caring heavenly Father who will discipline and lead us back to depending and trusting in Him full time. Proverbs 3:12 NIV explains, “Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Jesus desires our worship, our time, and our commitment to meaningful fellowship with Him. He freely gives us His perfect love and peace which will drive out all of our fear before it can gain a foothold. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” [1John 4:18]
Lord, help me to focus each day on knowing You, seeking Your face, and trusting in You alone, not in myself or my circumstances.
Lord, fill me with the Holy Spirit and cast out all my fears that are holding me back from living freely in Your radiant light.
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
-2 Corinthians 1: 21, 22 NIV
Do you trust that God’s will for your life is the best for you? Can you surrender all to God and put your life totally into His hands? Jesus set the ultimate example. When facing death on the cross, He prayed to his Father, “…not as I will, but as you will”. (Matthew 26:39 NIV) When God says “no” to your plans and desires, He is saying yes to the greater good. Surrendering all to God involves seeking His will, drawing close to Him through prayer, reading His Word, meditating with Him, and allowing God to channel His strength through you. In this way, you can begin to accomplish His true purpose for your life.
The more you surrender to His will and the closer you draw to Him, the greater His presence will fill your heart and thoughts. The Apostle Paul exhorts each of us to focus our attention on “whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy.” (Philippians 4:8 NIV) God’s ability to use you for his purpose will be greatly advanced when you commit in your heart to go “all in” on His ways, words, and will.
Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. When I consider your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
- Psalm 8: 1, 3 & 4 NIV
Who do we picture God is? A friend? An answer to prayer? Someone we turn to in time of need? God’s Word reveals the true perspective with an understanding of God’s importance to us, as well as a sense of true proportion of His greatness compared to ourselves.
Our God is creator of the universe, seen and unseen, who holds all things in His hand. He is designer of the human body and human intellect, all powerful, all knowing, ever present, the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega.
We ought to pause, close our eyes, and bow before Him. Our God is so majestic and holy, yet so loving and sacrificial that He sent Jesus, His one and only son to give His life, suffer death on a cross, forgive our sins, and raise us up with Him to eternal life. This most awesome God has a most generous heart. He is willing to bless us abundantly by the Light of His presence and ready to know us intimately.
This should cause us to exalt and worship Him with all sincerity and affection for who He is. We are to give Him praise and thanks with gladness of heart, forgetting ourselves and seeking His face. To Him be all glory and honor, forever and ever!
Get quiet and think about who God is, how awesome and great He is. Then meditate upon how much He loves you. Praise Him and thank Him!
Dear Lord, cause me to humble myself each day before you and acknowledge my full dependence on your presence in my life.
Now faith is the assurance (confirmation) of things hoped (we do not see, divinely guaranteed) for and the evidence of things not seen (the conviction of their reality – faith) perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.
- Hebrews 11:1 Amplified
God is more real and nearer than we can imagine. There is no limit to the ways God can communicate and reach out to us lovingly everyday through sights, sounds, thoughts, scripture, and people. We are literally surrounded by His vibrant presence, alive in faces, expressions, and a person’s touch and kind words. He transforms broken lives into rebirth, gladness, and hope.
The Amplified Bible explains Hebrews 11:1 so well. Now faith is the assurance (confirmation) of things hoped (we do not see, divinely guaranteed) for and the evidence of things not seen (the conviction of their reality – faith) perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses. Hebrews 11:1 Amplified
Our Creator’s promise: “I love those who love me and those who seek me find me” (Proverbs 8:17 NIV). As we seek His face we will find all that we have longed for. The Psalmist wrote: “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with Him?” (Psalm 42:2) The deepest yearnings of our hearts are for intimacy with God. God designed us to desire Him and to know Him. The more we experience God’s presence, the greater our faith and conviction of His ultimate reality.
Ask God to open your eyes to see Him, open your ears to hear Him, and give you a heart to seek Him.
Meditate on how God has faithfully answered your prayers, and how He has made life changing interventions in your life.
We are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
- 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV
Everyday life is filled with challenges: aging and decaying physical bodies; ungodly culture; deception and fake news; lack of respect for life and the unborn; prejudice; intolerance; false religions; finances; persecution and rejection; and the list goes on and on.
How can we endure these challenges, remain calm, overcome them, and find peace? Paul who endured imprisonments, beatings, shipwrecks and many other calamities, implores us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of our faith. Ask God prayerfully for His loving direction to change your attention on earthly troubles, to focus on His Lordship, His promises, His Word, and your relationship with Him. Look to see His Face and inspiration. What is seen is temporary – earthly life, troubles, sickness, and problems. What is unseen is eternal. Focus on God, then you will know and feel His stability, strength, comfort, and confidence, now and in the future.
“God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8) God is ever present and willing to renew our outlook, attitude and purpose.
When you look around, what do you see, what do you hear? It’s easy to bypass God’s beauty and handiwork, miss everyday joys, and fall into a dull and numbing daily routine.
God’s inherent nature is loving and giving. He held nothing back when Jesus sacrificed His life for us. We are God’s offspring, made in His image. We are God’s most precious creation, His crown jewel, "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Ps 139:14 NIV). He gives everyone life and breath and surrounds us with His glorious presence in all of creation.
God searches for people who are able to receive in full measure. Two traits which increase your ability to recognize God and be blessed are receptivity and attentiveness. Receptivity is opening up your innermost being to be filled with God’s abundant riches. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Mat 5:8). Attentiveness is directing your gaze to Him, searching for Him in all your moments.
Jesus taught us to ask, seek and knock. Our heavenly Father promises to give good gifts to those who ask Him. What you’ll receive is God’s perfect gift of peace, purpose and appreciation for the Light of His Presence and Love.
Our country, culture, leadership, and educational system, are all going through some major changes; and their direction seems to be taking the wrong path. Thus, we are confronting some difficult challenges and decisions.
Jesus taught us to build our lives and core beliefs upon a rock, His Words, to withstand the storms and difficulties we encounter. Facing these challenges by going it alone or on our own, is never a recipe for positive outcomes. We need faith in God, and we need each other.
My deepest encouragement to everyone is to find a Spirit-filed church where you can worship and know God, and to find a small group of Spirit-filled Christians. There, you will find friends, supporting one another and fellowshipping in God’s Word.
Insights on Christian Living...